Monday, September 19, 2011

The Beast...Now Just a Large Cat

"The Beast" is beginning to look less formidable. I managed to jump right into September's AW Water Cooler Flash Fiction Fortnight challenge and have managed to complete two stories, thus far. The stories were, perhaps, not my best nor most inspired writing, but at least I am writing again.

This weekend forced another break in my writing routine as I decided to suck it up and journey to Newcastle to watch the Great North Run - AKA, my-triumphant-return-to-running-that-wasn't. It turned out to be a good decision, watching the race. Newcastle is a fun and picturesque city, the run was inspirational, and I had two days of Chinatown's cuisine. Plus, I simply need to get out more. Winter's dark is around the corner, waiting with its friend cabin-fever. Good to get out and about and all that.

Today, I returned home and to my writing schedule. I'm still not quite one-hundred percent on that front, but today's plan is to complete one more flash fiction for the challenge, and at long last, to dive back into the first revision of my novel. My thought process is: get back to BIC every day this week, then look at revising my written, weekly plan and implementing it for October.

I'm "off" now, to get some writing done. Today's prompt is "sabotage in a darts tournament." That's going to take some thought.

Posted by Jennifer Baylor at The Writing Cocoon.  
Filed under "The Writer's Desk"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Beast

I walked past my office yesterday, on my way to make breakfast, and tried to rush by, averting my eyes from the sight of my empty desk chair. In the kitchen, I poured my coffee and headed back up stairs. At the top, there was a decision to be made: turn right to the living room and sofa or turn left to the office and the unknown. The sofa won.

This has been going on for weeks. In order to get from one room to the next in my flat (ANY room, it seems), you have to walk past the office. One day, on my way to the loo, I peeked inside the office instead of quickly shuffling past the door. It was like a time capsule in there - everything left exactly as it was the last time I sat down to write. I did a little hopping from one foot to the other- maybe my feet wanted to cross the damned threshold at last. But, it turned out I really just needed to pee, and I turned back towards the loo.

Once I passed by with a snack in my hand and stopped and stared into my office for several minutes. My white board still had the color-coded plot diagram for my novel.  My writing “manuals” were piled precariously on the window ledge by the desk. The drapes were drawn around the writing “manuals," changing the dim sunlight to a faded yellow that reminded me of old newspaper. Everything had a light layer of grey dust. With a shudder, I moved on and away.

A few times, I tried to punch through the barrier to my office and thought I had succeeded when I wrote my previous post. For one afternoon, I was able to return to my desk chair and face the computer screen at long last. But then, after that…nothing.

I developed a faint “butterflies-in-the-gut” sensation, and it crept up on me, growing day-by-day. It’s almost constant now. Sleeping was hard to face, and often, my husband had to drag me to bed so that I didn’t stay up all night doing nothing. I lived with the constant worry that there was something I’d forgotten - something I was supposed to do or somewhere I was supposed to be. I was bored, restless, and irritable. Sometime last week, I became convinced that I could hear the soft, interminable tick-tock of the little red robin clock in the office echo throughout the flat. I started to feel nauseated. When I walked by my office, my skin would crawl.

I think it’s my novel - it’s haunting me. I left it there, abandoned and cold, suffering from neglect. In that darkness and quiet, it turned into some sort of monster, a beast I had to slay, and I was weak and a coward. I couldn’t face it. The longer I avoided it, the nastier it became.

Today I paced outside the office, wringing my hands. It’s in there, I thought, and I have to go in there and face it.  

Posted by Jennifer Baylor at The Writing Cocoon.  
Filed under "The Mental Game"